Police officers raped mother as children slept upstairs, court told

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TWO on-duty police officers drove a drunken woman home after she had been attacked outside a nightclub and raped her as her three children and babysitter slept upstairs, a court heard yesterday.

Winchester Crown Court was told that Surrey Constabulary PCs, Mark Witcher and Andrew Lang, who are suspended from the force, raped the 25-year-old single mother moments after escorting her home from a nightclub where they had responded to a disturbance.

She told the jury the assault felt like "it went on forever," claiming her attackers taunted her as they carried out the rapes. She said: "They were saying that girls like me deserved it and they were saying I was dirty. They were just laughing."

PC Witcher, 30, of Drayton, and PC Lang, 30, of Whitehill, both Hants, each face one charge of rape, one of indecent assault and three charges of wilful misconduct while in public office, after the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she was attacked in the living room of her home in Godalming, Surrey.

Richard Onslow, prosecuting, told the jury the policemen met their victim while on patrol in Godalming on the evening of 19 September last year, when they were called to a report of a disturbance outside the Harlequin nightclub.

The court heard the officers arrived shortly after the woman had been hit over the head during an altercation between her friends and a group of men who had run off, and that the PCs asked her to accompany them in the police car to search for her attackers.

The prosecution said the woman later told police that the search did not last long because PCs Witcher and Lang drove into a pub car park and started playing with two tennis rackets they had found. Mr Onslow said the pair then drove the mother of three to her home and sexually assaulted her.

The victim told the jury that she had had about 12 double vodkas and Red Bull drinks that night.

She said she started to feel "really, really drunk" when the PCs drove her back. She recalled falling out of the car when they arrived at her house and had to be helped inside.

She added: "I thought they were going to take a statement off me about what happened and I thought that’s why the shorter one [PC Witcher] went into the living room so I walked into the living room."

She said that she stumbled in and found PC Witcher with his trousers off. "I turned to leave the room straight away and the taller one [PC Lang] was stood straight behind me."

The mother of three described how both officers raped and carried out other sexual attacks and that she had screamed at them to leave her alone. She said: "I made it very clearly known. I kept swearing and saying, ‘Get off me, stop it.’"

She also described how the officers briefly stopped their attack to speak on their police radios, but as her evidence continued, she broke down in tears and the hearing was temporarily adjourned.

The three charges of misconduct in public office that each officer faces involve misinforming their control room that they were involved in a search of the area, failing to report the assault offence reported by the woman and of engaging in sexual activity with the woman while on duty.

Mr Onslow said the two officers drove back to Guildford police station after the incident and, keen to "get their story in first", told colleagues that the sex was consensual.

The court heard how the Police Standards Department searched their lockers on 22 January this year and seized their notebooks.

Both men were arrested on suspicion of rape on 5 February after a detective sergeant had visited the victim at her home and she had produced an unwashed suede skirt she said she was wearing on the night of the attack. It was later taken as DNA evidence. Both officers deny all the charges.

The case continues.